Samoa A once again came closest to denying to the Super Rugby development sides back-to-back clean sweeps in the New Zealand series of the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup 2013, going down 35-25 to the Chiefs Development team in Te Awamutu on Thursday.
The Samoans, who narrowly lost 30-27 to the Crusaders Knights last weekend, scored three tries through captain Maselino Paulino, wing Faleniu Iosi and Falemiga Selesele but were unable to secure a crucial win in their race to claim the PRC 2013 title.
The Chiefs Development side outscored their opponents by four tries to three with scrum half Josh Hall, flanker Johan Bardoul, centre Save Tokula and wing Tino Nemani all crossing for tries at Albert Park.
Samoa A remain second in the Pacific Rugby Cup standings, still four points behind the Fiji Warriors after the four-time defending champions suffered a second defeat in a row, 38-20 at the hands of the Hurricanes Development team in Wanganui.
Nemani Nadolo was the star of the show with a hat-trick for Fiji Warriors, but the champions were unable to overcome the fact they played half the match with 14 players after full back Ratunaisa Vatuiranuku was sent off just before the break.
The deficit at the break was only 26-13 but throughout the Hurricanes Development team controlled possession with strong forward player and four of their six tries came from forwards with doubles for captain Callum Gibbins and James Broadhurst.
Ope Peleseuma and Tamati Samuels also got their names on the scoresheet at Spriggens Park to ensure the Fiji Warriors did not bounce back from seeing their 10-match unbeaten run in the Pacific Rugby Cup ended by the Blues Development team in the previous round.
Tonga A suffered their sixth consecutive loss of the 2013 competition after going down 70-9 to the Crusaders Knights at Linwood RFC, leaving the Tongans bottom of the table without a single point to their names so far.
Rally for Junior Japan
Hooker Codie Taylor scored a first-half hat-trick as the Crusaders Knights raced into a 39-12 lead at half-time. By the final whistle they had scored 10 tries in total with centre Kolo Hifo and wing Mitchell Scott both touching down twice.
The New Zealand series of the Pacific Rugby Cup is now over for the three Pacific Island teams, although Junior Japan still have two fixtures to play, against the Highlanders Development team on Tuesday and the Hurricanes Development team five days later.
Junior Japan, a side comprising mostly high school and university students, lost their first match on New Zealand soil following a 43-19 defeat by the Blues Development team at Bell Park in Pakuranga.
The Japanese, who picked up a second bonus point after scoring four tries in a 47-28 loss to the Australian Rugby Union’s Sydney-based National Academy team last weekend, found themselves 26-0 down within 16 minutes of play.
Bryn Hall, William Whetton and a brace by captain Joe Edwards put the Blues Development side in total control, but Japan’s youngest ever international Yoshikazu Fujita intercepted and raced away for his side’s first try.
The Blues Development team’s lead grew to 33-5 when Malakai Fekitoa touched down with a little over half an hour to play, but Junior Japan then began to find some holes in the defence with wing Kenki Fukuoka and hooker Atsushi Sakate scoring tries.
There was to be no fairytale comeback, though for Junior Japan as an injury break allowed the Blues Development team to regroup and they duly made certain of victory with further tries by replacement Nepia Fox-Matamua and wing Aula Silipa.
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